Religion: A Militant Mystic

"It takes three things," he wrote, "to attain a sense of significant being: God, a Soul and a Moment." For Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the moment was the 20th century, an epoch whose tendencies he analyzed like a prophet who had walked from the Old Testament into America at midstream.

When he died in Manhattan at 65, Rabbi Heschel left no doubt that he had attained that hallowed sense of significant being. From the start, the descendant of seven generations of Hasidic rabbis moved with a palpable sense of holy destiny. As a...

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